If you have followed my blog, you may remember the name Edwin Kipyego. When I first stayed in Iten I shared a room with Edwin and would say without a doubt he is my best Kenyan friend. Edwin recently won the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, one of the most competitive half marathons in the world and is heading towards becoming a real athletics superstar.
On the 14th October Edwin was competing in the Tout Rennes Court 10km, an elite only city centre 10km in Rennes, France. The course consists of 8 x 1.25km laps, it is great for spectators and the tension really builds as the laps go by.
I flew to Paris to meet Edwin and we were collected by the race organiser were we had a long drive to Rennes, it was great to see Edwin again as I hadn't seen him for ages but we were both pretty tired from our travels and nodded off for most of the trip. Once we had arrived in Rennes and settled into the hotel, myself and Edwin went out for a 30minute "easy run". A Kenyan easy run is normally very very easy, but a few minutes into the run Edwin was already picking up the pace, the last ten minutes or so I was hanging on to his coat tales to keep up, this boy was definitely in good shape!
The day in before the race I went for another easy run with Edwin and then he spent the rest of the day in bed resting while I caught up on some work emails. On the Sunday (race day) there were a number of races held, including a half marathon, kids races, a mass participation 10km all followed by the elite women's 5km and finished off with the elite men's 10km in the early evening. Earlier in the day I went for a nice run along the river, I ran out along one side of the river crossed a bridge and back down the other side, unfortunately coming back down the other side I came to a fork in the river, I had two options, one turn back and run the way I had came, this would make the run well over two hours and make me miss lunch or two find a way to cross the river. Luckily I spotted a little rowing boat which I quickly jumped in and rowed myself to the other side! Luckily no-one spotted me and I got back in time for lunch.
Race time was nearing and the weather was slightly cold and windy, the course had a few sharp bends so I wasn't expecting super quick times. There were at least twenty east Africans in the race, quite a few with best times under 28minutes for the 10km so this was not going to be an easy win for Edwin. The first five laps went by with a big group of between ten and fifteen runners together going through 5km in 13:50. The next time they came through Edwin had pulled a 20m lead and totally split the group up, it was now a case of Edwin pushing all the way to the finish and hoping he had the strength to hold onto the lead, the next lap he had extended the lead slightly but had an Ethiopian runner chasing him, with one lap to go the lead was about 40m, I was so nervous and excited I couldn't keep still! Three minutes later I saw Edwin turn into the home straight and sprint to the finish with a winning time of 27:50 in the process he won a brand new Renault Twingo!!
After the race we had a nice meal out in Rennes before a very early start to travel back to Paris to fly home.